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Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit
Chief Military Attorney
6 David Elazar Street
Fax: +972 3 569 4370
Dear Colonel Lutstein / General Brigadier Mandelblit
I am writing to call for the immediate release of Birzeit University student, Walid Hanatche, who has been arbitrarily imprisoned on the basis of an administrative detention order for the last three-and-a-half years.
Walid Hanatche was arrested on 19 May 2002. Since that time, the military court has twice decided to release Walid due to the lack of information against him. In August 2005, the Israeli High Court also ruled that Walid’s period of detention should be shortened to end on 22 September 2005.
But one week before Walid was due to be released last month, the Military Commander of the West Bank sent a written letter informing Walid that he intended to extend his detention order unless he ‘voluntarily’ agreed to be deported for a minimum of two years. Such an ultimatum can only be described as a legal and moral outrage and Walid rightly refused to be deported.
On 22 September 2005, in gross violation of international law and in direct contradiction of the Israeli High Court decision and two military court rulings to release Walid, the Israeli Military Commander of the West Bank renewed Walid’s detention order for the fourteenth consecutive time.
I draw your attention to the fact that Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Israel is a State Party, explicitly states, “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention”. In addition, the right to a fair trial is guaranteed under international humanitarian law. Clearly, Walid’s treatment does not conform to either of these obligations.
Furthermore, over the course of this period Walid’s wife has been diagnosed with brain cancer. For this reason and for the cause of justice alone, I ask you to intervene immediately to ensure that the latest renewal of Walid’s administrative detention order – currently under judicial review – is rejected and that Walid is immediately and unconditionally released.